What is it with the New York Times and the Jackson Heights pedestrian plaza?
Yesterday, the paper published a piece by Sarah Maslin Nir on a mugger in the plaza who was tackled to the ground by witnesses. It’s a good story — two of the good Samaritans were missionaries up from North Carolina, another was a firefighter who barely escaped being shot. Rather than leave it that, Maslin Nir casts the plaza itself as one of the actors, a seedy setting tailor made for gritty urban drama.
But if the plaza was really “bare and blighted,” as Maslin Nir writes, what about the missionaries who “had spent the day on the plaza … chatting with passers-by”? What about the firefighter, who was reportedly there with a colleague? Could it be that without the plaza, no one would have been around to thwart the dastardly thief?
This isn’t the first questionable story about the Jackson Heights plaza filed by Maslin Nir. And while she blames the plaza for everything from purse snatching to police brutality to public nudity (really, it’s all in there), she seems to enjoy the space quite a bit herself.